20th: An exercise in decisiveness

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Mikey P
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20th: An exercise in decisiveness

Post by Mikey P » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:55 pm

(I wasn't sure where to post this. I thought maybe 'Hookups' was closest as far as categories go, but this seems a little different from most of the stuff there. In my mind, it ties in more closely with the various threads I've seen in the 'Recording Techniques' category which emphasise decisiveness over keeping options open. If this is a bad place for this thread let me know for next time.)

I thought you guys might like to know about a project called '20th'. It's been running for a few years; I've taken part in three or four in the last few months.

The idea is that on the 20th of the month you write and record a song completely from scratch, so that it's ready to submit by the morning of the 21st: "no ideas from beforehand, no writing, performing, recording, mixing, mastering of the track before or after that day". Well, you can do stuff to the track after the 20th, but they only want to hear what was done on the 20th.

Once it's done you email an mp3 to Richard or Jeff at 20th@cabinetpin.com; they compile a CD-R of all the submissions, make a nice cover, and send a copy to everyone who participated. You don't need to give them any notice or anything, you can just decide on the 20th to do it and email them a song the next day and they're happy as Larry.

In my experience it's a great thing to do. It's easy to get so caught up in working for other people or in other day-job issues that your own music falls by the wayside a bit; if you are making your own music regularly it's easy to get paralysed by option fatigue or preciousness. This thing cuts through all of the above: just make the best song you can in 24 hours, record it the best you can in that time, send it off and it's done. Great training in decisiveness.

Here's one I did in September 08:
http://cabinetpin.com/files/cpr040/Love ... ToRise.mp3

I have a basic principle that I'll involve anyone who's around who might want my attention, rather than locking myself away. September 20th my girlfriend was around so she made up some words and sang them in her fake-Nico voice. My daughter was with me that week so she made up the end refrain and sang that too. Guitar was this funny guitar I inherited from my dad which has painted-on f-holes and a built-in fuzzbox. (The fuzz on this track comes from cranking the gain on my old MBox Mini to the max, though. I was listening to a lot of MBV that month.)

They don't care about fidelity or genre or gear or anything. They just want people to get out their recording gear and make something. Which means no excuses! December 08 I was on a camping trip and we recorded our song on a digital camera, sitting around the campfire. I think they were more stoked to receive that hissy little lo-fi song than any of the others I've sent them, because it accorded with the 'don't let anything get in the way' philosophy they're trying to foster. That said, quite a few of the submissions they get are pretty strong songs and are well-recorded: it's not all lo-fi by any means.

Anyway, further details are here, if anyone's interested:
http://cabinetpin.com/20th/
Last edited by Mikey P on Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ballpein
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Post by ballpein » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:10 pm

Very cool idea, thanks for sharing the info.



and cool song, by the way.

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vvv
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Post by vvv » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:59 am

Wow!

I'm gonna be in, I can tell ya's.

Oh, and your song is pretty trippy! :^:
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DU8
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Post by DU8 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:44 pm

what a neat idea!

hopefully I can contribute soon!

thanks for posting this!

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Mikey P
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Post by Mikey P » Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:40 pm

Hey, glad some of you are interested in this! I've put a few people from uni onto it as well, all have enjoyed doing it.

And thanks for the nice comments about the song. I like to think of it as my small contribution to tribal shoegaze. :)

It's utterly different from what I had in mind when I woke up. It evolved slowly over the day. My girlfriend made up the words when I couldn't think of any. All the tribal drums were a last-minute attempt to resolve the song when I couldn't work out what else to do, and I had to just make some decisions or I wouldn't get anything finished. I liked the way it sounded when I added the drums, and all I did after that was what I call 'guitar choir': you play a simple melody by scraping a 5c piece across a single guitar string, moving it up and down the neck to vary the pitch. Then add other tracks harmonising with it like you're writing a simple 4-part vocal harmony. People sometimes think it's a brass section, and it achieves something of the same effect in a very cheap-and-dirty way. That's what you can hear in the introduction, and it comes in again about 2/3 of the way through the song.

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Post by Mystic Steamship Co. » Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:39 am

this is a really cool idea. I used to be real big into writing and recording a song in a day. I did it everyday for two weeks once, but then I realized I was neglecting pretty much everything else in my life and had to slow down a bit. I will definitely contribute to this.

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akg414
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Post by akg414 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:48 am

Kinda sounds like an AMP GUY song. But done the right way. I liked it!
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@?,*???&?
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Post by @?,*???&? » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:51 pm

I have a new theory, one should only play guitar with two fingers. They may be on the same hand or you may play with one from each hand, but only ever two fingers at a time. That means that every time you pick it up to play, only use two fingers in your playing and writing. As physical constraints go it will curtail and at the same time direct your writing and composition.

Oh yeah, and be sure to list those rules on the liner notes of your legitimate release...so that your listeners know why this does not sound like any other recording out there.

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Post by signorMars » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:02 pm

can we rent extra fingers?
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Post by vvv » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:42 am

Sometimes, late at night, I play Mark Sandman-stylee two-string bass, with just thumb and slide ...
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Mikey P
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Post by Mikey P » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:11 pm

just reminding the interested among thee that the 20th is tomorrow, if you're in australia.

if you're in the US: greetings. i come from the future. the sun is shining. all is well. go in peace.

argonautlabs
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Post by argonautlabs » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:59 pm

Album-A-Day (record an entire album in 24 hours) and SongFight (themed song within a deadline) are similiar projects. I always liked listening to the results of projects like these. Some really great and awful stuff! Also, Jonathan Coulton did a song a week for a year that I found worth listening to. I recommend people check those out as well.

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Mikey P
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Post by Mikey P » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:26 pm

Here's my effort for the 20th. It's a wee bit bodgy but has, in my opinion, a certain knockabout charm.

http://michael.pulsford.googlepages.com ... ymarch.mp3

It's kind of krautrock shoegaze salsa, with recorders.
Last edited by Mikey P on Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mikey P
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Post by Mikey P » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:27 pm

ps: An album in a day? My God. I shall have to lift my game!

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Jay Reynolds
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Post by Jay Reynolds » Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:38 pm

I just got done tracking mine. The 20th of this month of this year turned out to be a big deal. So I figured why not make this 20th the first go. I'll post up my efforts later.
Prog out with your cog out.

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